On a recent trip to the UK to visit a friend, we decided to get the hell out of England and take a three-day getaway in Wales.
Think gray, drizzly days, ocean waves crashing against an empty, rocky beach. Think hot meals in stone pubs, with warm lighting awash. Think wellies and wool socks and winding, narrow roads framed by stout stone walls. Think green—the mountains rolling through the landscape, the trees in wooded areas, and the long stretches of pasture. Think sheep. Lots of sheep. Think throw blankets and bubble baths and early nights in watching Netflix while the wind howls outside.
Sound amazing? It was.
Read on to hear about our quick trip to Llwyngwril, Wales so you can plan your own cozy, seaside getaway.
Think lots and lots of green.
Before getting into all the best things to do in Llwyngwril, I’m going to lay out some important information on location, accommodation, and getting around in Wales.
Where in Wales?
Llwyngwril is the Welsh town where we stayed, which is pronounced like Lan-gweh-rill. It’s a tiny, coastal town in the west of Wales, which if you didn’t know is a small country bordering England that, along with Scotland and Northern Ireland, help to make up the United Kingdom. Lots of folks in Wales speak—you guessed it, Welsh. So, if you had fun trying to pronounce Llwyngwril, you’ll be in for a real treat visiting Wales! The language is not similar to any that I’ve studied before (Spanish, English, Italian, French) and the pronunciation of most words remain a complete mystery to me.
Driving to Llwyngwril should take about 4.5 hours from London, 2.5 hours from Manchester, or 3-3.5 hours from Cardiff, the capitol city of Wales.
This area of Wales is close to Snowdonia National Park, which centers around Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales. (By the way, Mt. Snowdon in Welsh is ‘Yr Wddyfa’.) Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do any hiking on our very quick trip, but I’d love to next time. Driving from Llwyngwril to Mount Snowdon will take you 60-90 minutes, depending on route and traffic.
Llwyngwril is a beach destination in the summer, and having both the mountains and surf so close makes Llwyngwril an ideal holiday destination. Fairbourne and Barmouth are other nearby beach towns we visited on our getaway to Wales. The weather was a far cry from summer in early October, but that was just fine by me. It meant few other people around, and lots of opportunity for seeking refuge in cozy pubs, cafés, and book nooks. That being said, the landscape is gorgeous, hiking trails abound, and we do love a sunny day at the beach. I would be thrilled to go back to Llwyngwril in the summertime.
Llwyngwril is also the site of some fond childhood memories of my travel companion, so it was a special trip. I got a local-ish tour guide, and he got to reminisce about fun times with his family. Win-win!
And red dragons, you'll see lots of these guys!
Accommodation in Llwyngwril
There are some places you travel to, where accommodation doesn’t matter much. Trips where you’ll be out exploring by day and partying by night, only spending time in the room to sleep or shower. But Llwyngwril is not one of those places. It is my opinion that destinations with dreary weather require extra special accommodation—since you’ll be inside so much! We did plenty of exploring during our 3-day stay, but after a day out in the chilly, drizzly gray, there is nothing better than a warm, clean, and cozy place to hang out.
For our quick trip to Llwyngwril, we booked the COOLEST Airbnb that was converted from an old chapel. There were still remnants of the original purpose like stained glass windows, original beams in the ceiling, pews for seating at the breakfast table, and, maybe best of all, the pulpit, which has been converted to a reading nook! Beyond these original touches, everything was super nice and modern. A glass wall to set off the loft bedroom, a warming rack to dry towels outside the shower, an electric fireplace, and a kitchen that I wished was my own. It also had a washing machine, which will come in handy if you plan to be hiking up any muddy mountains. The hosts added some personal touches like fresh eggs, a bottle of wine, and Welsh cakes, which I happily devoured during our stay. A deep soaking tub, big, comfy couch, and a huge mounted TV made this space perfect for relaxing, sheltered from the wet and windy Welsh nights.
There are lots of cute and cozy Airbnbs in this area, but if you’re interested in checking out the one we booked (and I recommend you do!) then click here to see the listing on Airbnb.
Be prepared though, you may never want to leave!
The cutest little chapel
Getting Around in Llwyngwril
Unless your plans are suuuuuper flexible, you really need a car to explore Llwyngwril and the surrounding area. There are local buses you can take from town to town, but they don’t run all the time. There is a train service, called the Cambrian Coast Railway, but when we were there it was suspended for construction. The local taxis are mostly occupied between 2 and 4pm, doing school pickups. We had to learn all this information about public transport in Llwyngwril when we hit some bumps in the road on day 2 of our trip. More on that later, but for now, just trust me: You’ll want a car to explore this part of Wales.
If you end up needing it, you can click here for the bus schedule in Llwyngwril
Or click here to visit the National Rail site, where you can see all the transport options available. Just key in the origin and destination.
We had a hard time getting a taxi, but you can try these companies if you need one:
having a car means you can explore all the other cute towns, like Dolgellau!
Snug as a bug in a... book nook?
Three Days in Llwyngwril:
How To Have The Coziest Quick Trip to Wales
Three days was the perfect amount of time for our quick trip to Wales, and Llwyngwril is a perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Pack warm layers, rain gear, and a strong desire to relax—you’ll be doing a lot of that!
Now, without further ado, let’s get into our three-day itinerary. Here’s how we spent three glorious days in Llwyngwril, Wales:
We set off for Lwyngwril from Stone, England, which is becoming one of my favorite small towns. Our drive would be a cool 2.5 hours without stops.
It is always fun to visit a place with a local, and we got started straight away on the drive, my friend pointing out an old family house, telling me about hijinks he and his sister got up to in Llwyngwril as kids, and insisting we play ‘Who can spot the Ocean first’, apparently a family tradition.
Llwyngwril is a very small town, so if you’re planning your own cozy getaway, consider stopping on the drive for supplies. There are some little shops in town where you can purchase snacks and drinks, but if you have your heart set on something specific, you’re better off stopping before you get to Llwyngwril.
Hit the beach
After locating and settling into our awesome Airbnb, we went for a stroll on the rocky beach, desolate of humans, save for us. Being born and raised in New England, there is something so homey about a cold trip to the beach. We love the summer and sun tans of course, but being all bundled up—cool gusts of sea air swirling around you, mussing your hair, reddening your face, while your boots crunch the sand and rocks beneath your feet—that truly feels like home. We hunt for sea glass while we walk, we New Englanders. I assumed every person did this at every beach, but it turns out I was wrong. I’ve spread the gospel of sea glass hunting to a couple friends now, one from California and this one from the UK, and happily, despite the pristine conditions at Llwyngwril’s beach, I was able to find and harvest one single piece of green glass, worn smooth & opaque by the crashing waves and sand.
It was a gorgeous afternoon.
For those of us non-natives, a “chippy” is a fish and chips restaurant. Similar to a beach snack shack, they serve up fresh hot fish and chips, wrapped in paper. We planned on taking our fish & chips to eat at the beach in Fairbourne, but it was too cold and windy, so we ate inside the bright little chippy.
The fish and chips were some of the best I’ve eaten. They were piping hot, huge portions, and just the right amount of grease for a fried dinner. The chips were salty and flavorful, and the cod was flaky and delicious. Definitely worth a stop if you’re in the area. This was probably my favorite meal of our three days in Wales.
For hours and specials, check out the Fairborne Chippy on Facebook
After a long drive, a blustery walk on the beach, and dinner, we were ready for an early night. I spent the rest of the evening taking a hot bubble bath in the chapel’s soaking tub and curled up on the giant couch watching a (somewhat) scary movie. What could be better than that?
Wind won't stop us from having a beach day!
on the hunt for sea glass
Serious portions at the Fairbourne Chippy
We spent day two strolling around the cute village of Dolgellau, looking in vintage shops and gift shops, buying candles and speaking to an antique jeweler about Welsh gold—apparently a hot commodity. We sought refuge from the bouts of rain in a low-ceilinged café, housed in a building that has been around since 1606, and sipped hot lattes.
Y Sospan is the name of the café, and there is a full-service restaurant upstairs that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The building has a storied history, as the placards on the walls indicated, which was cool to read about. Despite some of the darker historical aspects (Hangings, anyone?), it was a nice spot to take in the hushed tones of quiet, local chatter, the pups waddling in with their owners, and the general easy bustle of a small-town coffee shop. Check out Y Sospan here.
Our next big adventure was when our car broke down.
If you’ve driven in coastal Wales before, you’ll know that the roads are narrow, winding, and sometimes have steep drop offs. And if you haven’t, now you know. To make matters worse, they are always wet from the weather. Still, the locals drive like locals, zooming through the shoestring roads like Formula One racers.
It was on one of these such roads, two lanes but with barely enough space for two passing cars to fit, that the breakdown happened. A stone wall lined the street to the left, where we were driving, with no shoulder to pull onto. It was not ideal. Especially since there were cars behind us, driving at speed. But, as luck would have it, just at the point where the car stalled, we happened to be passing by an opening in the stone wall. It was a small patch of grass, only slightly longer than the car itself, and behind it, a gate leading to a pasture. This land must be owned by someone, and we thanked our lucky stars that we had a place to pull over safely, narrowly avoiding what could have been much, much worse.
Check out George III & The Penmaenpool Bridge
What could have been a very annoying, if not catastrophic, situation turned into just another travel adventure. It would be hours before a tow truck and taxicab could be dispatched, but we looked on the bright side and ended up having a fun time on our stranded, rainy afternoon in Wales.
We sheltered in George III, a landmark pub and hotel in the area, and the only establishment in walking distance. To get there, we had to cross an estuary via an old wooden bridge that costs money to walk or drive over. This is called the The Penmaenpool Toll Bridge, and apparently it is a thing to do in the area. (I honestly can’t tell you why, but it does have its own Tripadvisor page.)
I got an idea and asked the front desk if they had any playing cards, and what do you know, they did. While we waited in the George, we ate pizza, played cards, and basked in the warmth, content despite the circumstances.
Evening in Llwyngwril
The car, it turned out, would have to stay at the repair shop overnight, so we took a cab home to our little chapel in Llwyngwril. I curled up in the pulpit-turned-book nook to read and listen to the wind howl for the remainder of the daylight hours. That night, we walked to the local pub for dinner, which I hate to say was pretty bad. I’m sure some of the menu items are okay, but whatever you do, steer clear of the risotto. Another glorious, lazy night of TV and an early bedtime capped of our second and final night in Llwyngwril.
Oops, the car broke down, across the bridge we go!
Not the worst way to spend a rainy afternoon <3
Another view of George III Pub, and a very Welsh scene.
Day 3 was go home day, but it was far from a wash.
Adventures in Public Transport
First, we had an adventure in public transportation, taking the local bus from Llwyngwril to Barmouth, where the car was waiting at the mechanic shop, ready for pickup. This was made comical by the fact that we had all our bags with us, having already checked out of the Airbnb. There are large, full-size buses that go from town to town in the area, and the schedules can be read at each bus stop. (You can also find them above.) The bus that picked us up, however, was a replacement for the suspended rail service, and was more like a large van. When we poked our heads in the vehicle, four elderly people, and one disheveled man of middle age stared back at us. That we were tourists was obvious, and it was slow season in Llwyngwril. We hesitated, not knowing what to do, but the old woman in the front smiled while she told us to drop our bags and sit down. On the forty-minute ride to Barmouth, we were treated to popular classic rock—at quite a volume for public transport—while the van took the curved, winding roads at incredible speeds.
As mentioned before, I recommend having a car for a trip to Llwyngwril, but our adventure in public transportation turned out to be one of those memorable travel experiences that feels like a rare gift. An unexpected coal-turned-diamond moment you can look back on with laughter for years to come.
See the top of this post for information on the public transportation options available in Llwyngwril.
Barmouth was the liveliest of the towns we visited during our stay in Wales. It is the kind of seaside town with an arcade and small rides for children, ice cream shops, and souvenir shops on every corner—“Shit shops,” my friend calls them. It also had lots of restaurants, coffee shops, and vintage stores that were fun to poke around.
After picking up the car and finding public parking, we strolled around the town, looking at ancient books and “Rock”, a type of candy in the UK that is more like a very fat candy cane than American rock candy. I searched for the perfect Welsh Christmas ornament—one of the only of souvenirs you’ll ever catch me buying—and we had lunch in a café towards the end of the main street. Before leaving, we stopped for some “dirty donuts,” another of my friend’s endearing Welsh vacation terms. They were hot donuts, shaken in a bag with cinnamon and sugar, similar to apple cider donuts á la Fall in New England.
I wanted to see a castle, so before we left the area, we stopped at Harlech Castle. The castle is in a town called, you guessed it, Harlech, and is about a 20-minute drive from Barmouth and a 50-minute drive from Llwyngwril.
To be honest it wasn’t quite what I’d had in mind. I was looking to mosey around a furnished castle, with walls and rooms and floors and things in it. (To be fair, I don’t know if this is a thing you can do anywhere—I’m an American who watched a lot of Disney growing up.) Harlech Castle is a medieval structure, the shell of a castle that once was. Still, it was a nice diversion, fun to walk around, and another activity for our final day in Wales.
Get all the info about visiting Harlech Castle here.
If you’re interested in checking out another castle, then consider visiting Powis Castle and Gardens in Welshpool. This was recommended to us, but we didn’t have the time to make it in before closing. Powis Castle has some rooms open and a museum of artifacts inside, and the gardens are supposed to be lovely. This could be a nice stop on the way in or out of Wales from England.
Find information on Powis Castle and Gardens here.
Road Trip Part II
We stopped at the gas station, filled up with petrol, snacks, and drinks, and made the three-hour drive over the border and back to adorable Stone. It was a tiring but fun-packed day, and we left feeling we’d made the absolute most of our three days in Wales.
Scenes from Barmouth
seeking the perfect Barmouth Christmas ornament
Our three-day getaway in Wales was just what the doctor ordered (except no doctor would ever order walking in the rain, in cold weather, after narrowly avoiding a car accident.)
The trip had some hiccups—the car incident, navigating the limited transport options, and that god forsaken risotto. But even these little snafus couldn’t put a damper on our long weekend in Wales. Instead, we got over it. We improvised, we ordered a second meal, we figured out the bus. And now we have more stories to tell, and more laughs while recounting them. What’s an adventure without a mishap or two, anyway?
Llwyngwril is the perfect place to spend a few days in Wales. Go to the beach, hike Mt. Snowdon, buy some Welsh gold, or literally do nothing at all. Stay in your cozy Airbnb and listen to the wind and rain outside. I’m sure the towns are busier in the summer, but whether that would make it better or worse I can’t be sure. I’d love to find out someday.
I hope you enjoyed this recap of our quick trip to Wales, and if you plan to visit Llwyngwril, I hope it helped. I’ll be back to the UK in December for another quick & cozy holiday getaway (that I’m hoping will be much like the film!) I’ll be recapping that trip in early January, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I’ll be sharing some gift ideas for flight attendants, pilots, and those who love to travel, so keep your eye out and be sure to click the links to shop so this tiny site can earn a tiny commission. (It’s the season of giving after all.)
If you like what I’m doing here and want to buy me the gift of a coffee, you can do so at buymeacoffee.com/awheelinthesky. As always, as with all gifts, this is never expected, but always appreciated. And if you want to get on the nice list by giving your flight attendant a small gift on your next flight, I’ve got a post for that, too. Find all the FA approved gift lists in the Gift Guides archive, or check us out on Instagram.
Here’s wishing you the happiest, coziest holiday season, in rain or shine or howling wind.